Category Archives: home

staying home

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Rolling out of bed on Monday mornings is difficult, especially after a week end of beautiful weather. Except for a short trip each year to a place far away, I think I could be happy just staying here each day. I have spent years setting up “centers” for myself around here – fruit trees, the woods, a place to paint, a quiet spot to write, my garden, the chickens, the small burning pile near the woods, the keeping room at sundown when the light filters through the blinds and a fresh cup of coffee to sip will I watch, and my kitchen.

100_5476I have to stop looking at recipe books during the week. There are too many things to make and bake like loaves of persimmon, carrot, sweet potato, and pumpkin bread and an interesting recipe for spinach lasagna. I escaped this flurry in my head by going outside – to the garden –  to plant turnip and carrot seeds, and broccoli plants and dismissed the idea of all of the above and settled on smothered okra for a gumbo next week.

Anyway, I could handle more of this; I may just understand why Emily Dickinson never left home for 26 years.

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what to do?

I couldn’t sleep past 5 am this morning even though my bedtime last night approached midnight. It’s good though, I have wanted to see the summer sunrise and hear the silence in my house and I did this morning. There is something special about the beginning of a day – the feeling of aloneness, a place to connect with yourself before the rattle of the day distracts you and you become the chameleon once again. I can see myself more clearly  and I can admit my fears and flaws  and I can get to know me a bit better here in the very early morning when the world is somewhere in the distant and I am “alone” in it. I set goals for myself in the quietness of this morning, simple things like starting a canvas I have already created in my head and packing away the childhood memories in Matt and Drew’s room and then more difficult things like completing  the unending book I began nearly a decade ago, a memoir about Miss Sue and another goal to untie a few more apron strings, to “let go” , to redefine my role as mom and view it more as a sideline “job” while , all the while, wearing my heart on the outside– this is tough after so many intense years of being in the middle of things but it’s rather restful also – less doing and more enjoying. This post is going nowhere…


a display of last year’s ambition
It’s nearly noon now and I have some reoccurring thought in my head. It’s about change, lifestyle change. I can’t maintain the appetite of my youth – I have to let a few things go before I get weighted down with age and upkeep. I think I will begin with the garden. I have been gardening in one capacity or another since I was 15; Miss Sue taught and inspired me then. I have, by early June, semi abandoned mine and as I look at it I realize it is like a child and needs a lot of attention if it is to blossom and reach its potential. As I look within myself I realize I am not willing to give it the time it needs, at least not now. I have discovered this wonderful place to give me compensation, however, the local Farmer’s Market. I will limit my garden next spring to a square root box containing tomatoes bell peppers and eggplant and maybe cucumbers. Done.


an easter egg chick
 I am still debating about my chickens at this point. I really do enjoy the fresh eggs and do not trust anything in the supermarket so perhaps I will scale down my flock from 18 to just 4. This will have to take its natural course of course, for I do not cull chickens. From this bucolic scale down I propose and post, I hope to unveil time – time to paint, write, and leave, just for small excursions probably to visit my nomadic kids.

Then there is the question of this house – this huge great old house where I raised my family – what do I do? What do we do – us who have rooted ourselves in memories and a place and now want more flexible time and less domestic work; it seems a choice between sentiment and pragmatism – who wins? It’s a great place to accommodate my large family but nearly each day of the year, after Elizabeth leaves, it will be an oversized space for just two people. I do not want to be its slave nor do I want it to be my money pit – I can think of so many other places to throw money, places that make a contribution to someone. I am not prepared to answer this nagging question just now, I think more needs to unravel before I know the answer. I will just pay mind to the contents at this point and try to lighten the interior load and perhaps one day soon, I will know what to do with the rest.
It’s difficult dealing with the wonderful memories of this place – perhaps I stayed too long?

Ok.There you have a fair portion of a summer day’s idle rambling – questions posed, few answered. Exhausting, but it does help to write it down.

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Mothers

Today would be my mother’s 80th birthday. I think of her every day, nearly every hour, but today I wonder, I wonder how she would look, how would she sound –  I wonder how our relationship would have evolved by now – me at 57 and she at 80? There are seemingly volumes of words and lessons I have at my disposal from the 43 years I knew her and I try to keep them handy for I am discovering they were all messages from God really. The things your mother tells you are so pure – there is no ulterior motive, nothing that will mislead you, nothing self-serving, just pure love spilling out to you and giving you their wisdom to take and use to help you in this life. Ok, here’s the crazy part – I still can connect with her. I could sit and write all afternoon about these times and instances and one day I will – just for myself, my memory, in case it begins to fade. I am certain the spirit remains.

 I miss my mother‘s physical presence, however. I miss going places with her, having coffee with her, going to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas, watching her brush Elizabeth’s hair, and hearing her tell me “how proud I would be of those boys one day”. One quiet afternoon with her in the house I grew up in telling her about my life and hanging on to every word she spoke…that would be heaven.

 You know, they say when you lose your mother, you lose your historian – true. There are holes in my history that will never be filled because only she knows. It is especially difficult and evident while raising my own daughter – I want to ask, “Did I think that or do that” – no one knows but her. And beyond that, no one has the capacity to care as she does. Others come in a close second, but no one can take her place. I am convinced it is a higher love that is eternal.

I suppose this entry is a bit soppy, but it is where I am at this moment, this moment of tribute and remembrance. To continue in this soppy vein, I have listed a few great quotes about mothers – I wish I had an original to share but these will do just fine…

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. 
Robert Brault

Mother – that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries. 
T. DeWitt Talmage

I cannot forget my mother.  She is my bridge.  When I needed to get across, she steadied herself long enough for me to run across safely. 
Renita Weems

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. 
Abraham Lincoln

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. 
Jewish Proverb
This is Elizabeth’s vanity – the mirror to the left was my mother’s, the glass container was a gift to me from my mother, and the perfume Elizabeth wears was also my mother’s favorite. Elizabeth took this picture a while ago but it seemed to be a divine fit for this post.
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supper

“I’ll go make supper.” Olivia Walton… The Walton’s was my favorite TV show in high school and funny and purely coincidental, the oldest boy was named John (Jon) and the youngest was Elizabeth – so are my oldest and youngest!!!  Anyway, I caught the end of it on Hallmark and this line she spoke sounded so wonderful – the incarnation of home. Making supper – not “dinner”, not take out, not microwave something in a box, none of the toxic interpretations of our contemporary meals. Anyway, I just wanted to post this image. I know Olivia is a fictional character, but I grew up eating supper at the supper table nearly every night and when I heard Mrs. Walton say “I’ll go make supper”, it sounded so comfortable.

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now

It’s so wonderful now, now that it doesn’t matter if the paint is peeling or the whatumacallit is broken or if it is rusty or squeaky or missing or crooked; it only matters that it is there and that I have time and energy to clean it. To tidy it up. I have given up trying to replace things that are old and used; I now enjoy them. I have released this wasteful preoccupation of my youth where I thought the surface of things, literally, were important enough to have (steal) my time and my money. I love this place I am in now, it is so much more comforting and pleasurable and it is as it should be. The patina should wear off of the tables just as I lose the color in my hair and the arbor should lean just a bit from bundles of wisteria that were once there just I lean ever so slightly from the weight of motherhood and 56 years of life. It is how it all happens, time and wear, bending, breaking, but with it emerges a deeper splendor, one that is so much easier to be with than the beauty of youth, not as exciting perhaps, but far less anxious and demanding. I like it here.
 I think about my grandmother and how she lived in a tiny two bedroom house with one bathroom and a wringer washer where she raised 5 children and then my mother who had a three bedroom house with two bathrooms and an electric washer and dryer and only 3 children. I remember how my grandmother, her mother, would fuss about having so much when she would come to visit – so many clothes, so many things. I have more than my mother and having more means having less (time). My grandmother had time to sit on the porch every afternoon to visit with whoever walked by or stopped in; my mother had coffee nearly every weekday afternoon with her best friend, Flo. I, rarely do either of those things – too much stuff. Okay, I have to stop, I am depressing myself. I will work on this; I am determined to spend this chapter of my life beneath the surface.
Their They’re There
It’s not that hard
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October 18, 2010

staying home
Rolling out of bed on Monday morning is difficult, especially after a week end of beautiful weather. Except for a short trip each year to a place far away, I think I could be happy just staying here each day. I have spent years setting up “centers” for myself around here – fruit trees, the woods, a place to paint, a quiet spot to write, my garden, the chickens, the small burning pile near the woods, the keeping room at sundown when the light filters through the blinds and a fresh cup of coffee to sip will I watch, and my kitchen. I spent a bit too much time in the kitchen this past Saturday – I have to stop looking at recipe books during the week. I made 8 loaves of persimmon, carrot, sweet potato, and pumpkin bread, spinach lasagna, vegetable soup, and Texas brownies with made from scratch icing. I went crazy in there escaping to the outdoors to plant sweetpeas (the flower), turnip and carrot seeds, and broccoli plants while things baked and simmered. Anyway, I could handle more of this; I may just understand why Emily Dickinson never left home for 26 years.
a mess!!!
persimmons
soaking sweetpeas
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